Château du Clos Lucé

 
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The residence at the time of Leonardo

 

It was at the Château du Clos Lucé, at the invitation of Francis I, that Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life, working on numerous projects, and died on 2nd May 1519. Passing from the bedroom recently restored  to the Renaissance rooms, through his servant Mathurine’s kitchen, visiting the chateau will allow you to share the private world of the Renaissance genius.

Come into the building

Go past the watchtower, which reminds us of the time when the Clos Lucé was a fortified dwelling. Come into Leonardo’s bedroom, and admire the view of the château d’Amboise. It was here that Leonardo finished drawing up his will in 1519, leaving his manuscripts, books of drawings and sketches to his beloved pupil, Francesco Melzi.

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Leonardo’s workplace

At the Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci was very prolific. In his office, he drew up plans for the construction of a grand palace and ideal city of Romorantin to accommodate the Court. In Leonardo’s codex, there is a series of investigations, plans and drawings presenting this fabulous project.
He established the project to drain the Sologne, and planned moveable houses for the itinerant Court.

Discover his pupils’ paintings

King Charles VIII commissioned an Oratory for his wife, Anne of Brittany. The Queen had lost her children at an early age, and far from the clamour of the Court, she came and prayed there, with her book of hours in her hands.  
The four wall-paintings in Anne of Brittany’s Oratory were painted by pupils of Leonardo. Above the door, the Virgin of the Light, Virgo Lucis, gave her name to the chateau, Le Clos Lucé.

The Renaissance Great Hall

The Great Renaissance Hall was Leonardo da Vinci’s Reception room, where he welcomed numerous visitors to the Clos Lucé: Francis I, the great people of the kingdom, ambassadors, and his fellow artists. Furniture, chests and tapestries were what guests of the house would have seen.

Enter Mathurine domain

The kitchen was Mathurine’s domain. It was there that Leonardo’s faithful servant and cook prepared his meals, in a high stone hearth, where the Master came to warm himself on cold winter evenings. Leonardo was a vegetarian, and advised us that “sobriety, healthy eating and sound sleep will maintain good health”.

Go and find out about Leonardo the Engineer

The four basement rooms enable the visitor to understand the breadth of Leonardo da Vinci’s knowledge: hydraulics, civil and military engineering, mechanics – the list goes on.

The 6 3D exhibits and 40 models illustrate the diversity of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions: aeroplane, automobile, helicopter, tank, among others. These models were made by IBM from Leonardo’s original designs, using materials from the period, and reveal his visionary genius.

Francis I appreciated this genius so much that he is said to have visited Leonardo often, using the underground passage linking the Château du Clos Lucé to the Royal Château d’Amboise. The vaulted entrance of the passage can be seen in the cellar of the residence.